Misunderstandings and conflicts can happen anywhere, but they take more significance when happening among school children. An empowering strategy that teachers can employ to resolve any such issue is conflict mediation and teaching its advantages to the parties in conflict. Therefore, promoting a healthy learning environment in classrooms.
Conflicts and fallouts are bound to happen when people spend extended periods of time together. This applies to educational institutions where young minds spend a lot of their time. Verbal or physical fights among students can be a challenge, especially when it disrupts the classroom.
Why is conflict mediation important for students?
Conflict resolution skills are just as important as reading and writing. Students need to be able to communicate effectively, comprehend the consequences of their actions, evaluate situations and provide solutions. When conflicts are understood, it becomes an opportunity to learn and create. The main goal of conflict mediation is to come to an agreement in non-violent ways.
When educating students about conflict mediation, it helps to build their self-esteem and sense of responsibility. By negotiating with the opponent, students can continue to have a healthy relationship with the opponent and make new friends in the classroom.
How can students handle a conflict?
To successfully mediate a conflict between them, here are a few steps that students can try themselves.
1. Understand the nature of the argument or conflict
● Ask: Why am I concerned about this conflict?
● Think: What do I gain out of this situation?
● Analyze: What are my fears or hopes about this situation?
2. Talk to the opponent about it.
● Always let the opponent speak their part and listen to their perspective actively.
● Keep asking questions, if you need to understand the situation.
● Stay calm instead of having emotional outbursts. Wherever required, apologize; it only rewards a better relationship and eases mediation.
3. Create a list of solutions to make it a ‘win-win’ situation.
● Find ways to make decisions easy.
● Do not judge or criticize the opponent for the solutions they offer.
● Try to maximize your resolution options.
4. If the conflict goes out of hand, always have an impartial mediator to judge the situation.
● Have a trustworthy and unbiased person to listen to both sides.
● Choose a person who can give solutions and mediate the conflict.
● Most importantly, have a person who respects the opinion of both parties.
5. Always explore the alternatives
● Brainstorm the alternatives before you give up on a peaceful mediation.
● Think about the pros and cons of each alternative.
What are the benefits of teaching students about mediation and conflict resolution?
One of the most rewarding benefits of conflict resolution is to facilitate goal achievements. Usually, students get discouraged when they face a conflict, as a result, they fail to maximize their potential academics or other activities.
Another positive factor about conflict mediation is the commitment it creates between the students. Conflict resolution also builds insights through discussions and sharing of ideas. This in turn makes the students creative in different scenarios.
How can a teacher or parent be a good mediator?
The main objective of any conflict resolution is to restore the existing relationship or forge a new one. In situations of arguments or fallouts, students must be taught about all the non-violent ways, and even non-confrontational ways to settle disputes. Teachers and parents should encourage the students to do so. The mediator must be able to help both parties to negotiate, and give suggestions to settle the argument.
One of the best methods to introduce conflict mediation in classrooms is to teach students about it. Here is a list of steps for mediation, which can prove to be effective for classroom conflicts.
1. Big or small, it still is a conflict.
Teachers should be aware of the reason. Even if it starts out as a minor argument, it has all the possibilities to turn into a major conflict.
2. Validate assumptions
When students voice their opinions based on assumptions about the opponent, the teachers should clarify or validate the points. This will give a better understanding and reasons for re-evaluation.
3. Teach students
Students should be taught the importance of getting along with others. Explain in detail about conflicts and how they can improve themselves by reversing their actions.
4. Listen to both the sides
As teachers, it is important to listen and communicate. While settling a dispute, give the speaker positive reinforcement like nodding or smiling.
5. Encourage writing
Motivate students to write about the conflict they had. Not only does it help them to cool off, it encourages them to think better too. This is a powerful strategy to concentrate on self-awareness.
This can be done as a classroom activity where teachers encourage students to play opponents in what could be a real-life scenario. When playing opponents, students learn how to empathize with others.
Classroom management for young children requires attention and creativity to build a happy environment. When teachers work towards transmitting positivity, students learn better and, find the classroom to be an interesting place.